2014 Video Releases: The Top 25
So this list is a bit late, but I wanted to get it as close to 100%. As mentioned in my bottom of 2014 all these films I pay for myself. No screeners and its difficult to keep up with all the 2014 releases as well as other releases. I did my best to place them in order, but I can move some around. It also took me longer on trying to decide the final cut and while some titles must be left off I think these 25 releases best represent 2014.
All titles listed are blu-ray unless otherwise noted and in the case of combo packs its the blu-ray I’m basing my selections off and not the DVDs.
25. Motel Hell- Scream Factory (blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Another solid release from Scream Factory. Audio and video are fine and some good interviews.
24. Ms. 45- Alamo Drafthouse
This was a solid release with a strong HD transfer. This cult classic has been out of print for a while and its great to have it back in circulation uncut and in HD and it also comes with a reversible cover and a booklet.
23. Frightmare- Redemption
Previously released on DVD by Media-Blasters this new blu-ray blows the DVD away. Some solid features, but it’s the audio and in particular the video that makes this a winner. Quietly, Redemption is becoming one of the if not the best label for cult cinema.
22. The First Power- Kino Lorber
Another film from the partnership between Kino Lorber and Scorpion Releasing. The audio and video are quite strong and a major step up over the old DVD. There are two interviews here: one with Lou Diamond Phillips and the other Jeff Kober we also get a trailer and reversible cover.
21. Curtains- Synapse
Like Prom Night, this film had a couple of poor DVD releases that were way too dark. While I found the movie ok, but the release was excellent with some solid extras and a stunning HD video presentation. Synapse along with Vinegar Syndrome are the best when it comes to the HD videos.
20. Graduation Day- Vinegar Syndrome (blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Another stunner from Vinegar Syndrome in terms of HD video. This also comes with some decent releases, but its all about that great HD transfer.
19. The Toxic Avenger- Troma (blu-ray/DVD Combo)
This carries over mostly features from the DVD with a couple of new ones, but the HD video presentation is quite outstanding. That’s the reason this release makes the list.
18. Ginger Snaps- Scream Factory (blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Past DVDs were quite shoddy with the Canadian DVD being the best but the video was average. This release carries over past features with some new ones and finally we get video quality. It isn’t demo worthy, but with a good transfer and nice features this is a solid release.
17. Leprechaun: The Complete Collection- Lionsgate
Surprisingly solid set and oddly enough Lionsgate gives the Leprechaun series a better release than the Saw films! 7 films are spread out over 4-discs (Leprechaun: Origins has its own disc). Quality on the films are fair enough as is the audio. There are some nice batch of extras including the Leprechaun Chronicles, which is a 6-part documentary.
16. Witchboard- Scream Factory (blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Excellent audio and video with a nice batch of extras. Obviously not every title can get the works, but when Scream Factory does go all out you’ll be hard pressed to find a better company.
15. Hell of the Living Dead/Rats- Blue Underground
These two schlock films very much benefit from the HD upgrade and there’s also a very good documentary. Its good to see Blue-Underground active again.
14. Christmas Evil- Vinegar Syndrome (blu-ray/DVD Combo)
This release carries over the extras from the Synapse and Troma releases and with a brand new 4k transfer and results are stunning. When it comes quality Vinegar Syndrome just might be the best.
13. Pumpkinhead- Scream Factory
Strong audio and video with some solid extras including an hour documentary. This deserves a higher place on the list, but 2014 such a solid year great releases miss the top 10.
12. Halloween: The Complete Collection- Anchor Bay/Scream Factory
I can see it now with this release topping most people’s best list. I however can’t do that as this is in some ways a cash grab by Anchor Bay and Scream Factory, but in other areas it excels. Halloween 2-5 are the exact editions released in the past by AB & SF. The original has 2 blu-rays. The first being identical to the 2007 version. The other being the 35th Anniversary, which is nearly identical as it adds a mono sound mix and a new commentary. H20 is presented in its correct aspect ratio with a new batch of new features and carries over the onset making of from the old DVD, however the quality is nearly identical at times to the Echo Bridge with a slight upgrade as is Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, which is presented in 1080p whereas the Echo Bridge was 1080i. The only other differences is trailers and TV spots added. Resurrection is identical to the Echo Bridge version and the two Rob Zombie films are the directors cut and are identical to earlier releases. The reason to buy this and why I did is for the first official release for the Producers Cut of Halloween 6 with a brand new HD transfer and a whole slew of extras and had the Producer’s Cut been released solo it might have taking my top spot and it also has a terrific transfer. There’s also a bonus disc with mostly extras from past releases, but with some new new things added such as a documentary on the making of Halloween 4 & 5 and a look at the locations of Halloween 4-6 with Sean Clark’s Horror’s Hallowed Grounds. Of all the collections released of horror franchises this set is by far the best despite some issues. Each film has its own case with the original Halloween packaged together as are the theatrical and TV cut of Halloween 2 (1981), the theatrical and Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6 are packaged together as are Zombie’s Halloween 2 and the bonus disc. All cases come with the original artwork and we even get a booklet. When released the price was $109 and had it been cheaper I would have rated it higher. Most of the discs are the same and if you have those releases you’ll have most of the extras, but the new material added and the Producers Cut elevates this release. It’s difficult to fully recommend the set if you have the prior releases, but I’m actually quite happy with my purchase. However there are a couple of things missing such as the Halloween 4/5 panel that was an extra on the original Halloween 4 blu-ray release. Also missing are the theatrical cuts of both of Zombie’s Halloween films (I prefer the directors cut of both, but without them it’s not quite the complete collection). The set isn’t perfect and again a good portion of the extras are carried over, but despite any issues I’m again glad I picked this up. And sure Anchor Bay & Scream Factory could have done a bit more, but its still a very cool set.
11. Billy Bagg Double Feature: The Adult Films of William Lustig- Distibpix (DVD)
Before Maniac, William Lustig under the name Billy Bagg made two adult films. Believe it or not this is one heck of a release. There’s audio commentaries and even a podcast interview. The Violation of Claudia is the best of the two in audio, video and the actual movie. The 2nd Hot Honey looks good, but far more flaws in the audio and video. Very strong releases and both films fun.
10. La Bamba- Twilight Time
Believe it or not this is my favorite film of all time. The blu-ray from Twilight Time is a limited edition. Extras are two audio commentary tracks and a trailer (both carried over from the DVD). Despite the lack of extras this is still a great release as the audio is solid and the video is downright stunning. The HD quality is always excellent, but certain scenes its just draw dropping beautiful.
9. Vincent Price Collection II
Last year the first collection took my top spot. This collection is also quite terrific with a nice batch of extras with some new and others from previous DVD releases. The video quality while strong, but like the first set could have used more work. As excellent as this release was this year I couldn’t rank it as the top, but it easily one of the best of 2014.
8. Texas Chainsaw Massacre- Dark Sky
The first blu-ray was excellent, but this by far trumps it in audio and video. I put heavy consideration into rating this higher as its a terrific edition.
7. L.A. Law Season 1- Shout Factory (DVD)
Never released in the United States before the first season comes 28-years after its debut. L.A. Law is the most influential attorney show and while certain aspects are obviously dated the good portion of the cases remain relevant. Surprisingly enough there’s also some special features. The only flaw is the video is a slight notch above VHS as very little work was put into it, its a disappointment, but easy to look past since for us fans we finally got a release. It was common in the 80s for shows to be shot on video and shows such as this on film, but transferred to tape. Some of the flaws with the picture on VHS flaws. The UK releases also use the tapes, but more work was put into cleaning them up. Basically L.A. Law looks like it would when airing in syndication. Despite the letdown on the video its still a great release and I’m ecstatic to have it on DVD.
6. Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series- Shout Factory (DVD)
Fox released the first 2 seasons several years ago than stopped. This release has all 7 seasons with each season in its own case spread out on 33 discs plus a 34 disc with a few extras and we also get a booklet. Audio is alright, but the video is much stronger than expected. Its as good as DVD will allow (for the most part). While lost on the modern viewer HSB changed the landscape of TV dramas as there was nothing like this before. Overall this was a great release and its great having the entire series.
5. Prom Night- Synapse
Past releases were quite poor to where it was impossible to make things out to the video even looking like a video. The audio on this edition is terrific, but the HD video is stunning and its like seeing Prom Night for the very first time.
4. To All a Goodnight- Kino Lorber
I really never thought I’d see this released on blu-ray (or even DVD). Long out of print the VHS was super dark and difficult to make anything out. The blu-ray comes from a partnership between Kino Lorber & Scorpion Releasing is terrific. The HD presentation looks wonderful and its no longer dark and murky and the audio is strong as well. Plus we get interviews with two of the actors and one with the writer and even a trailer!
3. Sleepaway Camp- Scream Factory (blu-ray/DVD Combo)
While the features are very strong the major upgrade in audio and video makes this a must buy. When compared to the Anchor Bay DVD this release is a revelation.
2. Night of the Demons- Scream Factory (blu-ray/DVD Combo)
This was a terrific release and one of the best releases from Scream Factory. The HD transfer is terrific and the audio quite strong. It’s jam packed with extras including a documentary that runs at around 45-minutes.
1. Ghostbusters Double Feature- Columbia
The original film was released twice before with the first drawing mixed reviews and the 2nd being a brand new 4k scan though without any features. This set the original film has the same 4k scan, but has features from past releases plus some new ones. The 4k scan is simply breathtakingly beautiful. The 2nd film for its 25th anniversary also gets the 4k treatment and is every bit as stunning. Both 4k transfers look so amazing it can almost be distracting. Both films look brand new. The 2nd film isn’t as packed with extras, but its still a great edition and to be honest both films look so amazing I wouldn’t even care if they didn’t include any features. The case is a digibook and included is a booklet attached to the inside of the case and a note from the director. My only complaint is even though each film has its own holder, but to get to the 2nd disc you have to take out the original as they’re on top of each other, but kept safe from getting scratches. Complaint a side with some excellent features plus 2 draw dropping 4k scans this is an amazing set. With my top 3 picks any could take the top spot, but I went with Ghostbusters because those 4k scans are amongst the best HD transfers for any film of any era.